Archive for August, 2010

Christ’s Scribes (II Cor 3:2)

August 16, 2010

Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:2 says the church is a letter from Christ, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody.” He says it is, “the result of our ministry.” This is a timely reminder to all of us Christians that our ministry is to be scribes, writing upon the human hearts the testimony of Christ.

It’s easy to lose that mindset in the midst of ministry and life. Our lasting work is what we leave in the hearts of our friends, family, neighbors and the impressions we leave on our foes. You may do many great works on this earth, you may work hard in your daily lives, but it will all fade away and never see the light of eternity, save what you have impressed upon the hearts of people. Our stuff, our works, our jobs, everything we see before us, hold, buy, sell, make, and take will but be dust and ashes. So why do we work so hard at it? People are eternal, yes we may die, but we are just passing from here to eternity – so Paul reminds us, not matter what we have done nothing will last except that which we left in the hearts of others.

What are you leaving in the hearts of your children? Are you working long hours to provide for them? Make sure you provide them with your time so you may speak into their hearts. Are you coworkers hearing live-giving words? Is your ministry in your church based on quality time with other Christians, being a modern day scribe writing eternity on their hearts? Paul says ministry is people, not programs. Are you taking time to have your heart engraved with words of life?

Today, let us think about the letters we leave behind. Make sure we take time to have our hearts engraved by the Spirit and make time to write the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ on the hearts of all those in our lives – for that is our lasting impression, letters, written on hearts, by the Spirit and read by everybody.

Stick to it Timothy

August 14, 2010

Paul makes in interesting statement in I Timothy 1 saying, “As I urged you when I went to Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus.” Poor Timothy. This letter is written to encourage him to stay faithful to his calling, and in particular, to stay put at his current church family. The Greek word here is even an intensive form of “to say.” It could be translated as, “but stay a little bit longer.” It is not so much as saying, “hold out.” as it is saying, “dig in.” Timothy is in a church with lots of problems – some of them even stem from the leadership who have drifted from the Bible into other controversies. Timothy wants released, and from this verse it seems he asked Paul to let him leave on at least another occasion for Paul says, “just as I urged you when I went to Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus.” in effect, Paul is saying, I told you before, and I am telling you again – stay here for you are God’s worker to help this church.

I think this is an important lesson for today’s church member. It seems all too often we are looking for the perfect church were we can just fit right in instead of doing the hard yet glorious work of staying with our church family that God has placed us with and helping them become the spotless bride of Christ. Paul came and went from Ephesus, but Timothy was called to stay. Some of us are called for a short time, and some of us are called to remain a little longer and dig in. If more of us dug in then the church could truly become a unified body of believers glorifying Christ and changing the world. Pray to be a Timothy, to stick through the hard times and see God at work. Are you willing to remain in a roaming culture? Let us be stick-to-it Christians.

Eli’s Infidels

August 10, 2010

In 1 Samuel 4 the Israelites are at war with the invading Philistines. During the campaign Israel loses the battle and returns for the ark of the covenant. Eli, the priest sends the ark with his sons into battle. He stays behind and sits, awaiting news. When he hears that the battle was lost, his two children were killed and the Ark of the Covenant was captured, he falls off his chair and dies.

I wonder at this story and then think of our contemporary struggles with culture and see the very same history repeated. We are battling the infidel, the unbelieving that is, on many levels of culture in our communities. Our Christian heritage is being attacked by new well-armed giants all the time. But what should be our response? Do we regroup and try to use God to overpower the enemy, wield Him like the Israelites did the ark? The problem is that Eli’s two sons and the Israelites didn’t really know God, they didn’t pray, they just thought of him as a glorious rabbit’s foot. And their leader, Eli, just sat and watched.

Our fight against agnosticism in this world will not be won if those who know the Lord, those who are leaders are not spending their time leading and teaching the next generation to venerate the Lord God. We will send them to their death, our culture will be captured and our surprise of it all will kill us. Christianity needs leaders who train their children in the way they should go more than rail against a society that has gone its own way. Christianity must not sit on the sidelines, and ponder the loss of this country to unbelief. This passage is a warning to the old guard to train our next generation in true faith in God The issue here is the Philistine’s unbelief, the Israel’s ignorant belief and, and Eli’s disbelief. May we not allow our country’s unbelief to overrun our children’s poorly discipled and naive belief as we watch in disbelief. Let us equip our children to battle the ever present infidels.

Sarah’s Pleasure – Kids

August 10, 2010

The Bible tells us that children are a gift from God. In Genesis 18, Sarah, who is well advanced in years, overhears God’s plan to bless you with a child which causes her to chuckle. She says, “After I am worn out and my master is old will I now have this pleasure?” That last word, pleasure sticks out for me. We live at a time where most parents speak of the inconvenience of their children and the toils of parenthood on their mental health, calendars and bank accounts. But Sarah, even though she realizes the difficulties she would face as a parent still sees children as a pleasure. When did the gift of God become the curse of our way of life? Our culture has told us that children are an inconvenience and cramp our style. But God’s gift is viewed by one old enough to be a great-grandmother as a finally achieved pleasure. We need to regain this perspective. Children are our pleasure on this earth, not our burden.

The Hebrew word “pleasure” in this text is from the word for the name of God’s garden, Eden. God describes his special place for his first children, Adam and Eve as a pleasure, a garden of Eden. The very first command in the Bible from God, even before the command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; the first command was to be fruitful and multiply. God’s pleasure was to make a home, with his children and for his children to make homes of paradise for their children, their pleasures. I wonder, if we start growing churches by accepting the gift of God as a pleasure, we may end up living in a bit of paradise in this world yet. Let us not disparage the gift of God, let us not talk of His gifts as a chore, an expense or burden. Let us view our children as the gift and pleasure that they are. For Sarah, who may be well advanced in years, still views having children as a pleasure.

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